Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Superman #201

Superman #201

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 28, 2004

Cover date: March 2004

Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciller: Karl Kerschl
Inker: Karl Kerschl

"Strange New Visitor" - Part 3

Reviewed by: Nick Newman

Majestic remembers back to his own universe, where he came from his distant planet to protect his earth from an alien invasion. On that earth he was treated with honor and respect.

Furious, Majestic battles the STAR Labs troops, yelling that he won't be imprisoned again. Kitty Faulkner and Dr Irons rush towards him, but before Irons can stop her, Kitty transforms into Rampage and charges at Majestic. He slams her into a computer console without breaking stride.

After asking Lois if she let him out, John Henry calmly talks to Majestic, attempting to calm the enraged hero. Majestic tells John that their scientific ignorance is going to kill them all, unless he does something about it. Irons radios the Eradicator, telling him to expect trouble.

Flying into the heart of the storm, the Eradicator dispatches Superboy and Steel to deal with Mr. Majestic as he continues on with the CVE. Majestic heads straight for the two teens, not intending to stop for anything. Natasha enlarges the suit and stands in Majestic's path, but a quick burst of heat vision sends her plummeting downward. Superboy prepares to fight, but Majestic tells him he can either fight or catch Natasha. Superboy takes off after her.

In the heart of the storm, the Eradicator prepares the bomb and launches it into the maelstrom above Metropolis. Majestic surges past him, but the Eradicator grabs him in a choke hold and forces him back. The Kryptonian machine punches at Majestic, but Majestic responds with a mighty blow that sends the Eradicator flying. As the CVE begins to power up Majestic focuses his heat vision and vaporizes the device.

Back at STAR labs the check their readings, but the bomb didn't work. They are all dead. With tears streaming from her eyes, Lois runs out of the building. Guilt-ridden, Lois runs out onto a gigantic walkway just in time to watch the sky explode.

Across town, Perry leads his employees as the Daily Planet begins to crumble. Lena and Jimmy watch as the rail whale track begins to disintegrate before their eyes, derailing the massive cars. Lana rushes out of her apartment building with baby Clark in her arms as the upper floors simply cease to exist. As explosion sweep her way, Lois tells her husband that he loves him.

Grabbing her at the last moment, Majestic pulls Lois into the sky. He tells her that Clark must be a very lucky man, but she should really have more faith. Lois tells him that she can't have faith after watching Metropolis die. Majestic tells her that she just needs a little faith.

Looking down, Lois sees Metropolis restore in all its glory, free from the B-13 tech and safe from the ravages of the storm. At STAR Labs the Eradicator, Superboy, and Steel touch down in time to watch the city emerge from the storm. The Eradicator, however, is still not convinced. There is something sinister about Majestic. Touching down on a roof, Majestic tells Lois that much of the city was constructed from extratemporal technology, and the storm was just putting everything back the way it should be.

The storm has sent the B-13 tech back (or is that forward) to its proper time, and left Metropolis behind. Lois asks Majestic what he will do now. He tells her that he hopes to find a way home, but until then if she ever needs him she only needs to look up in the sky.

Across town something stirs in a dark alleyway. Eradicator's suspicions were not totally unfounded. Something sinister did crossover during the storm, it just wasn't Majestic.

5Story - 5: And our brief, wonderful story comes to a close. The first time reading this I thought it was way too short, but the second time through it felt a lot better to me. This book was full of everything I like to see in a Superman book (except Superman of course) but it was still great. Abnett and Lanning continue their use of the vast supporting cast by throwing in a Kitty Faulkner/Rampage appearance, as well as repeat appearance by Perry, Jimmy, and Lana. This is the kind of thing we should be seeing in a Superman book.

Majestic was handled very well, not just in this issue, but across the whole series. This issue we see references to his origin and previous adventures. They didn't just go scrolling through the names of characters and pick someone like Superman; they actually fleshed out the character and gave him a personality. The Lois/Majestic scenes were great too; reminiscent of early Superman/Lois moments and well written. Lois had the perfect personality too. Not a pushover, not a witch, and not a commando, but something wonderfully in between. Lois is a strong woman, but I think that having her do things like charge into the middle of something for a story (and in this case release Majestic) is how she goes about it.

I liked seeing the Eradicator used as he should be, as an intelligent and competent leader. The thing is thousands of years old and the product of a civilization eons more advanced than earths, it makes sense that he'd be a good commander. I only hope that he doesn't go anywhere in the future. Natasha was actually a good character in this story too (no Joe Kelly-speak helped out a lot there). We still have that absurd enlarging suit of hers, but I can deal with it.

Then there was the gorgeous return of Metropolis. That fits in better with the art, so we'll get to that later.

Overall, I just loved this book. I don't know if it was a good idea on DC's part (not that they've made many of those lately) to have this series right before the new teams come on. I've only had three weeks of this team, and I want them to stay. They handle the supporting cast better than anyone since the mid-90s and everyone just feels...right. Easily one of the best arcs I've read in a long time. A very long time.

5Art - 5: The first issue turned me off a little bit with Lois' look, but by this one it had either changed or really grown on me. Everything just looked so...good. Majestic looks great (I only wish we could have seen Superman), Superboy looks great (almost as good as McKone's over in Titans), and the Eradicator, well, he just looked great. I much prefer the humanoid form over the giant robot. This art was exactly what Superman art should be. It had a personal style to it, but it was still clean and everyone still looked like they are supposed to.

And then there's Metropolis. My Metropolis, the one I remember from when I started reading 11 years ago. The Daily Planet with its real globe and brown brick construction and everything else just looked fantastic. The Lexcorp tower did appear to be modified, but that glass tower never fit in so while I will miss it I'm definitely willing to check out the new one. The glory of old Metropolis can make me forgive the gratuitous use of splash pages leading up to it...almost. The pages with Perry, Jimmy, and Lana really should have been half-splashes, but that two-page spread makes up for it. Every now and then I see a page in a comic that I want to own. I want the original art hanging on my wall. In recent memory, it happens with the gorgeous picture of the Kent cornfield in For All Seasons, and it happened again with the last page of Action 800. The second I turned to this page I wanted it. Granted, I don't think the black and white pencils would do it justice without the fantastic sunrise, but you know what I mean. This spread took what was meant to be a wonderful moment and made me feel it. If that doesn't deserve a five then I don't know what does.

3Cover Art - 3: I'm really torn on the cover. On one hand I like the concept. I like the logo they used. Nothing that I'd want on a regular book, but it added to the retro feel of the cover, especially with the numbering across the top. But then there is the other side. Why is this cover on this book? After two beautifully symbolic covers over the past two weeks we have a cover that has absolutely nothing to do with the interior at all. And please, before I get dozens of emails telling me that a cover doesn't have to represent exactly what happens in a book, hear me out. Had this cover been used two issues ago I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Majestic's debut coupled with a cover made in homage to Superman's debut. The parallel would have been fitting. However, on the last issue of an arc, in the last issue we will probably see Majestic, it just doesn't work. This issue was about Metropolis, and I feel the cover should have reflected that. This cover should have been Majestic flying over restored Metropolis, or something of that nature. Oh, and Natasha just looks stupid over on the side there. I love the art and I love the concept, but it really, really doesn't fit with this book. Therefore I've got to go with a three. I like it, but it just didn't mesh with the fantastic story inside.

Other recent reviews:

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2004

February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2004.